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Not a Fan of SunFest 2020 Lineup? Blame South Florida Voters

Darius Rucker, immortalized as a sucker for the loser Dolphins, is a South Florida music fan favorite.
Darius Rucker, immortalized as a sucker for the loser Dolphins, is a South Florida music fan favorite.
Image of Hootie and the Blowfish via YouTube

The frontman for Hootie and the Blowfish — and recently named tourism ambassador for South Carolina — is headlining opening night at this year’s SunFest, because we’re all aware of the impact Darius Rucker has. And in South Florida, it will forever work in his favor that the Dolphins make him cry.

SunFest, the music and arts festival in West Palm Beach, recently released the lineup for the four-day summer kick-off event that starts on April 30, and the response has been not great. In fact, many — mostly young people — are voicing outrage over the lineup for 2020.

Now, I’m not disagreeing with their anger. I just think it’s misguided.

The lineup was voted on by locals and fans of the yearly festival — and that means the people voted for Darius Rucker. And the people voted for Melissa Etheridge. They voted for Nelly, and they voted for Adam Lambert, and so on. SunFest’s lineup is a direct result of the taste of the people in South Florida. God save the people.

Scenesters and Boca-ites have spoken — they voted and their choices are our choices.

This is one of the reasons why it’s difficult to develop any sort of significant music scene in South Florida. And if one more person tells me about Miami, I’m gonna call in a bomb threat to the Fillmore. Miami has tons of great artists, but so do Broward and Palm Beach. It’s not the quality that’s the issue. Bottom line, the issue as to why there isn’t a more powerful music scene here is the same reason the lineup for SunFest is such garbage — it’s because the people suck.

Seriously, they want cover bands to play songs that remind them of their boring childhood or they want to hear that hot shit, but only so they can take concert selfies to try to convince their friends they aren’t the milquetoast idiots that they actually are.

I should admit, there are some terrific artists playing SunFest — Cage the Elephant, Kevin Gates, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Tower of Power, the Main Squeeze — but I doubt the people voted in Tower of Power. That seems like an insider’s choice. As a huge fan of Lenny Williams, though, it’s tough for me to hear Tower of Power without one of the greatest vocalists of all time. So just forget it — how are you gonna play “Cus I Love You” without Lenny?

Honestly, the people of South Florida don’t deserve to vote on who will come to entertain them. This is one of those times when the people don’t deserve democracy — they deserve to shut the hell up and suffer in silence, because they are going to buy the ticket and see the show anyway. They don’t have anything else to do and they aren’t going to not post from SunFest 2020. These are the kinds of choices that are made by voters who go to Los Angeles on vacation and choose to go see a taping of Ellen. They deserve this.

According to the SunFest team, the voting consisted of 8,000 votes cast by people from four different generations — meaning 60-year-olds had a say in which bands will play at a music festival in the year 2020. I’m sure Bonnaroo has the same issue ... but they don’t, because they aren’t crazy enough to take into consideration oldsters who just want something to do over the weekend. I hate people who consider themselves taste makers, but goddamn it, can we get a couple of especially convincing ones to help socially engineer the musical tastes of South Floridians? Also banishing all cover bands to the confines of sappy Key Largo would be a good start.

If we get rid of cover bands, we can put an end to boomers thinking they should have their say on music and events in South Florida. For crissakes, Bernie Sanders rallies in Iowa have better bands than what people vote for down here.

Young people don’t have a live music tradition in South Florida the way they do in many other places in the U.S. I blame it on the beach and the plastic surgery, but that could just be because I hate the beach and fake body parts weird me out. They don’t have many bars that book bands (well, bands that aren’t cover bands), and they look at places like the Broward Center for Performing Arts as the epicenters of music awareness, but without significant smaller locations where local bands can thrash and fans can beat each other up (you know, with love), they have to resort to going to places like American Social, where the DJ plays the same mix you get tuning in to 96.5. Sometimes it can even feel like you’re in a 2003 loop. You’ll hear 50 Cent and Lil Jon hits from the early aughts played over and over in the bars and clubs on Las Olas — meanwhile, Kendrick Lamar and Run the Jewels records get zero spin.

As with our crumbling infrastructure, our amoral medical system, and the good old U.S. tax code, to understand why things are so bollixed up, you need to look for the root causes. It’s not SunFest’s fault that you, the people, suck. SunFest is just giving you what you want: artists from a bygone era and — bonus! — superficial hitmakers from today.

The issue most touring indie artists face when putting together road trips is the cost of gas that goes into driving the entire state of Florida — Pensacola, or even Tallahassee, to Miami and back. Nowadays Orlando has become a great stop for touring acts, but they often turn around and head back north from there. And gas money and driving time aren’t really the issue. They just know that these bougie motherfuckers down here aren’t gonna come out to a show.

I remember being at an Atmosphere show at Revolution years ago, when Slug, the frontman of the Minneapolis hip-hop group, told the crowd he didn’t think anyone would be at the show in Fort Lauderdale. He was surprised by how many people showed up.

Fans — real fans, young fans — show up. So maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel to save us all from you uncultured pukes hijacking SunFest. Melissa Etheridge? Just stop.

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